The Hollywood sign was originally the Hollywoodland sign – yes, for many years the word "land" was on the end of the sign. It was a very large advertisement for some land developers who were building new, high end homes in the hills of Los Angeles. Before the developers went bankrupt, they turned the sign over to the city of Los Angeles and it became part of Griffith Park.
The sales and construction offices (above left) featured a large sign that read "You are now in Hollywoodland, Tracy E. Shoults Co." The Hollywoodland sign was officially dedicated on July 13, 1923 (above right). What would eventually become a symbol of Southern California, movies and filmmaking sat mostly untouched for many years. In 1949 the letters “LAND” were removed. Over the years, the sign became dangerous to anyone venturing around the remnants of the landmark.
In the 1970’s, several celebrities sponsored each of the dilapidated letters and money was raised for the $250,000 rebuild of the sign. In 1978 the sign was demolished and was gone for about 3 months, then in November was dedicated as a historic landmark and the ceremony was shown on live TV. Here’s the list of contributors:
H: publisher Terrence Donnelly
O: producer Giovanni Mazza
L: Kelley Blue Book founder Les Kelley
L: actor/singer Gene Autry
Y: Hugh Hefner
W: singer Andy Williams
O: Alice Cooper, donating in the name of Groucho Marx
O: Warner Bros. Records
D: Thomas Poole
Approximate address: 3143 Ledgewood Dr.
Google Street view: 34.125724,-118.32215
Bing Bird’s eye view: Just to the left of the dot
Approximate years: 1925 & 2008
The house and garage are still standing today. If you move around in Google Street view, you can look up and see the house. The Bing view makes it much easier to see the house.
The Hollywoodland development was even immortalized in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) (at 1:18:04).